Photo Credits: Kurdish Dailey News
The small Borneo island country of Brunei, an Asian country with predominant Sunni Islam religion where homosexuality is illegal, this year implemented stoning to death as a punishment for anal sex together with other cruel measures. This move provoked a global public outcry and many celebrities, including George Clooney and Elton John, joined rights groups in order to stop Brunei from applying those measures. It looks like Brunei has backtracked on its plan and the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, stated that he would extend a moratorium on capital punishment and ratify the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
Brunei is a rich country with tons of oil and its sultan has many hotels and other businesses all over the world. A high profile campaign against Brunei’s barbaric anti-LGBT laws called for boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei, and large companies like JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank told their staff to avoid using Brunei-owned hotels, including the Dorchester in London and the Beverley Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, in the wake of new laws. The campaign hit the country right in the wallet and succeeded in changing the Sultan’s mind.
According to Metro, giving a speech ahead of the start of Ramadan, the wealthy sultan said he was aware there had been ‘many questions and misperceptions’ in regards to the new laws. He continued: “However, we believe that once these have been cleared, the merit of the law will be evident. “As evident for more than two decades, we have practiced a de facto moratorium on the execution of death penalty for cases under the common law. “This will also be applied to cases under the SPCO which provides a wider scope for remission.”
But the moratorium, or temporary ban, is not enough to make people of Brunei feel safe. Just as he changed his mind after a global campaign he could easily change it again when he decides. Also homosexuality is still illegal on Brunei. In order to make LGBT people of Brunei safe all of these laws should be eradicated and the whole country’s culture towards LGBT people should be changed. In the meantime we should hope that this moratorium stays on as long as possible and learn from this campaign; that people all around the world should gather and act together if the cause is just. Sometimes it can have a positive effect.